Scaffold- Demon Faith

He lifted the syringe with held breath, watching the gas swirl with the tremor of his fingers. They closed instinctively, prints burning into the plastic, but it would not stop.

He cradled the fist close to him, but soon it would fall, crash – never shatter, only crack, small lines of fragmentation that only he would know were there. Know because he felt them in his own skin, within his own eyes.

He surrendered, flattening the vial against the desk with his palm, sinking into the chair, head resting in his hands that still shook, still betrayed him. He couldn’t do this anymore; couldn’t pretend the scars had faded, that he wasn’t afraid to sleep, that the lab was just a job, just a place.

The machinery was opened once a day, inspected with a flashlight before Sara checked up on him – then smiles, of course, a joke, expected, and something, anything to erase the pity in her eyes.

Every experiment was dreaded, every precise calibration – his fingers skidded over keys, he jumped as the door closed, an intern called, and now even the simplest task was seemingly beyond him. Angry, frustrated tears leaked from his tightly-shut eyes, as the lurking shadows of the lab gripped at him and plagued him with...memory.

He started when a hand brushed his shoulder and someone crouched beside him, looking up into his eyes with no pity, just love. Smooth fingers brushed at the tears, thumb glancing over his lip and a soft sigh filled the room.

“What am I going to do with you?” came the soft drawl, and he stood, inviting Greg to stand with him.

“Nick, don’t – I can’t...”

“Let’s see – chromatograph, is it?”

Greg stared at the syringe on the desk – simple process, inexpert, any fool’s job. He was aware of Nick moving behind him, then strong arms bent around him and fingers interlocked with his. “Now try.”

He moved his hand towards the syringe again, and lifted it, backed, strengthened, together. The motion was fluid, the arc perfect, and it was in place; a small press of his thumb, the injection complete, and his other hand came up, flicking the switch. The machine whirred into life and he breathed, relaxing into Nick, who laughed softly.

“See? That wasn’t so hard.”

He was released almost reluctantly, and he turned slowly, a small smile spreading across his lips.

“You can’t be here all the time, Nick.”

“You don’t need me here – you’re good at this, master of your realm.” He laughed again, eyes sparkling and Greg smiled back, because who wouldn’t? His fingers may tremble, things may not be same, but if he came home to this man, who always had his back, who was determined to help, did it matter?

“I...don’t know anymore.”

And that was it, wasn’t it? Everything that had been certain now wavered, all he had been sure of was rocked to the foundations – and where did that leave him, a lab tech who was afraid of the lab? Then, gentle hands settled on his shoulders and he looked into those deep brown didn’t matter.

“You don’t know, but I do,” he said, and Nick’s soft words settled inside him like fine sand, sealing the cracks that he’d almost forgotten, “And I won’t let you forget.”

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